Wednesday, February 10, 2010

meh.. just four great articles you should read...

They are all great reads, long and short, right in my wheelhouse, and after contemplating taking the credit, I must admit I stole them from Kari's google reader feeder.


Photographer Loves Math, Graphs Her Images
for more pics.

Most of us can’t tell our secant from our cotangent. But the forms are everywhere, and Nikki Graziano wants to help us see them. See more of her Found Functions series at

These look ok, but I really like the concept.


Garry Kasparov writes of artificial intelligence and chess. This is a really transparent article by Garry; his bitterness, his emotion, as well as his intellect really come through. You could almost feel the struggle within from paragraph to paragraph. If you haven't seen the movie, "Game over: Kasparov and the Machine", you should.


At the outset, this article looks "meh, pedestrian", but keep reading.

In Western films, the gunslinger that draws first always gets shot. This seems like a standard Hollywood trope but it diverted the attention of no less a scientist that Niels Bohr, one of history's greatest physicists. Taking time off from solving the structure of the atom, Bohr suggested that it takes more time to initiate a movement than to react to the same movement. Perversely, the second gunslinger wins because they're responding to their opponent's draw.


Bohr's idea, it seems, was correct in theory, but wrong in practice. That didn't stop Bohr himself from testing his hypothesis in experimental duels against fellow physicist George Gamow using toy pistols. According to anecdotal reports, Bohr always reacted and he won every duel, but Welchman has the final word on the matter:

"Our data make it unlikely that these victories can be ascribed to the benefits associated with reaction. Rather, they suggest that Bohr was a crack shot, in addition to being a brilliant physicist."


And finally, sing me Polish techno.

New York is practically a non-stop music festival, so it makes sense that the city doesn’t host many big-tent events. In ungenerous moments, New Yorkers may even think that nothing passes them by because everyone plays here. Not so—some musicians just don’t care for touring. But a well-curated festival can bring out those artists, and the seven-year-old Polish electronic-music festival Unsound, which comes to New York Feb. 4-14 (starting in and around Lincoln Center), is at least that. Vladislav Delay will offer his gorgeous electric fog, Radian will play its arid version of minimalist rock, and countless others, some rarely seen, will upend machines in search of the perfect beat. There will also be panel discussions with pioneers such as the seventy-six-year-old Morton Subotnick, one of the first musicians to work with modular synthesizers. You’ll have to admit that the Poles got this one right. Eleven days is a lot of synergy, and it seems unlikely that you will be standing in mud at any point.

From the New Yorker.


Now, the point of this post? So I could play you all this:

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